Bicester Shop Death: Inquest Opens

19 June 2013, 17:03

The mirror that hit a four-year-old boy in a shop in Bicester should have been fixed to a wall, an inquest has heard.

Oxfordshire Coroner’s Court was told that Austen Harrison, from Crawley, was in a changing room of the Hugo Boss outlet store at Bicester Village with his dad when it happened on June 4.

Initial police investigations have shown the mirror, which was seven-ft tall, was leaning against a wall.

It collapsed onto Austen, causing serious head injuries.

At the inquest, Detective Sergeant Chris Whitwell from Thames Valley Police said: “It would appear the family were shopping in the store – Austen’s father was trying on some clothing in the store’s changing rooms.

“There was a large mirror up against a wall. It was seven-ft tall with two ‘wings’ attached to it.

“At some stage the mirror has collapsed onto Austen, which appears to have led to his death.

“Our initial investigation shows the mirror was supposed to be fixed to the wall – it wasn’t a free-standing mirror.

“It would appear it wasn’t fixed to the wall and at some point became unstable and collapsed onto Austen.”

The inquest heard that Austen was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where a CT scan on his brain showed he was unlikely to survive the head injuries he’d suffered.

Emergency surgery was carried out, but Austen died four days later.

The court heard a health and safety expert is now examining the mirror that fell onto Austen and staff there at the time are being interviewed.

The inquest was adjourned, while the police and Environmental Health Officers from Cherwell District Council continue their investigation.